Some artistic places of the Province of Cuneo…
Castello della MantaOne of the most important structures of Cuneo's historical and artistic heritage, it is 'unique' of its kind because of its important fifteenth-century frescoes in the International Gothic style.
The Castle's ancient structure was built by the Marquis of Saluzzo in the twelfth century as a watchtower along the borders of their territory to defend the Alpine valleys in the heart of the Marquisate.
In 1416, when the Marquis Thomas III died, the estate of Manta was established for Valerano il Burdo, his illegitimate son. Valerano, a cultured and refined man who often traveled with his father in France, extended the structure and created a true castle, becoming the progenitor of a new family called Saluzzo della Manta. The fortress was transformed into a magnificent family estate with its famous frescoes in the baronial hall. A true jewel of Castello della Manta and one of the most amazing examples of International Gothic painting is the fresco cycle inspired by the epic poem Le Chevalier errant that was the inspiration for the mysterious representation of the Fountain of Youth.
Staffarda AbbeyThe abbey was founded on July 25, 1135 by some Cistercian monks from the Ligurian Tiglieto Abbey by the will of the Marquis of Saluzzo Manfred I. The abbey is composed of a church, monastery and cloister, refectory and chapter house, guesthouse, lay brothers' building, and the covered market and the farmhouses in the area, according to an established pattern of the Cistercians.
The church is a beautiful example of the transition between Romanesque and Gothic, with three naves. It is austere on the inside, according to the monastic rules, and stripped bare due to the replacement of the splendid wooden pews of the sixteenth century built by Carlo Alberto in 1846. Of the original furniture only the late Gothic pulpit has survived. While the altar is topped by Pascale Oddone’s splendid 16th century altarpiece of painted and gilded wood.
Castello di RacconigiOne of the most prestigious Savoy Residences of Piedmont, the Castle in Racconigi was founded in the eleventh century as a fortified house in the March of Turin. Later it was owned by the Marquis of Saluzzo and then by the Savoys.
The original fortified structure with its angled towers was transformed during the seventeenth century by Guarino Guarini, a great master of the Italian Baroque.
With Carlo Alberto, Prince of Carignano's accession to the throne as the King of Sardinia in 1831, Racconigi became the ‘Royal Holiday Resort’. The painter and sculptor Pelagius Palagi designed the interior spaces, achieving one of the most harmonious results of the eclectic nineteenth century style.
Sanctuary of VicoforteThe Sanctuary of Vicoforte, as well as being a very important place of worship, is famous for its elliptical dome of colossal dimensions, 74 meters high with a diameter of 36 meters, designed by renowned architect Francesco Gallo from Mondovì, with Mattia Bortoloni’s wonderful frescoes, an artist who worked extensively with Giambattista Tiepolo and the work was finally completed by Felice Biella.
Church of San Fiorenzo BastiaBuilt over the tomb of the saint at the beginning of the second millennium, it was originally a 'pilgrim's chapel' along one of the most important 'salt routes'.
The church contains an impressive cycle of late Gothic frescoes made by the best artists of the most popular schools of the fifteenth century. They bear the date of June 24, 1472, but the styles are different and are reminiscent of either Giovanni Mazzucco or Giovanni Canavesio, the latter active in the second half of the fifteenth century in Liguria and the area around Nice where, in La Brigue, he painted the beautiful cycle Notre Dame de Fontaine.
Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Pieve in BeinetteThe church was mentioned as early as 1041 and contains beautiful frescoes painted at three different times: the first cycle dates from the second half of the fifteenth century, and the second after 1474, when the frescoes in the apse were made. At the end of the fifteenth or early sixteenth century the cycle composed of 15 boxes placed in the upper half of both sides of the aisle depicting the Life of the Madonna was painted.
Castles in LagnascoNestled in the Saluzzo countryside, the Castelli Tapparelli d'Azeglio di Lagnasco are an articulated complex comprised of three buildings. They are a fine example of the plurisecular architectural evolution. The work of research, restoration and improvement of the Castles of Lagnasco, which has already identified 1000 square meters of frescoes, is recent and was begun in 1998.
In the Castello di Levante, the Hall of Shields bears mentioning with the heraldic shields of all the period’s subalpine noble families painted between 1469 and 1471, as well as the Hall of Grotesques, painted a century later in the Mannerist style.
In the beautiful Castello di Ponente was housed the spectacular Hall of Justice, which allowed the master of the house, a judge, of course, to proudly display his power. All the scenes depicted are dedicated to the administration of justice and the images made by Benedetto Tapparelli aimed to demonstrate to guests that nobility comes from one's personal virtues.
Sanctuary Madonna dei Boschi in BovesThe origin of the Sanctuary is medieval. Its oldest foundations emerged recently to show the presence of a Romanesque apse from the end of the 12th or early 13th century.In the second half of the 15th century, the chapel was painted with a delightful cycle dedicated to the Life of the Virgin and the childhood of Jesus. A century later the church was extended and two series of frescoes were made, credited to the anonymous Master of Cigliè, including the Last Judgment, which made many references to the masterpiece by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.
Ancient Silk Mill in CaraglioThe so-called “Filatoio di Caraglio”, a silk spinning mill, is the most ancient industrial structure in Europe and represents a unique example within the production framework of Piedmont during the seventeenth century. It was built by a family called Galleani, a family which, some years before, brought to Piedmont the circular twister powered by water energy and built in Venaria Reale the first factory which included the silk mill for the silk-throwing and the spinning mill for silk-twisting.
The Spinning Mill, which looks like a fortified building, after the production crisis at the beginning of last century, stopped its activity during the Second World War. In this new millennium, the spinning mill has been restored, the silk mill and the living units have been completely refurbished and the imposing silk twisters have been reconstructed. The building usually hosts temporary shows and contemporary art exhibitions.